The Dos & Don’ts of Outsourcing Content

For some time now, consumers have become quite adept at shutting out the world of traditional marketing. For example:

  • We skip television advertising
  • We ignore magazine advertising
  • And we stay clear of banners or buttons on websites

Obviously, traditional marketing is a lot less effective today than it used to be and it’s becoming more so by the minute introducing a need for marketers to find better ways to get through to potential consumers.


Enter content marketing!

By definition, content marketing is the strategy of producing and publishing content to:

  1. Build trust and authority among customers
  2. Build relationships and a community around your brand
  3. Become established as a thought leader in your industry
  4. And drive profitable customer action

Quality content is today at the core of most forms of marketing including social media marketing, search marketing, PR and PPC. The challenge it seems is to be able to generate an unending stream of fresh, unique and valuable content.

And let’s face it, that’s a big task! Therefore, the need to produce enough content and the need to produce engaging content that gets read and shared often drives marketers to outsource their content writing as a solution to problem of limited time and resources to get the task done in-house. The key to success is to know the dos and don’ts of outsourcing content.

1. Do Your Due Diligence

When outsourcing content, the first task is to know where to look for writers. The world is full of great writers and a few well-known sites where they hang out include Elance, oDesk and People Per Hour. The challenge is to find a reputable writer and that’s not going to happen if you accept the cheapest bids. In addition to writers on freelance sites, students also make good writers. An example of this is UK-based Studentgems, which can be more expensive than Elance but the writers are more enthusiastic and talented. As with most aspects of marketing, when looking for a writer, research is key to making a good and informed decision.

2. Make Sure They do their Due Diligence

So you did your research and found a few potentially good writers with the writing skills you need. Next up is making contact with them. Beware of any writer who doesn’t ask smart questions about the scope of your content marketing strategy. If they don’t collect necessary information, they will most certainly fail to meet your expectations.

3. Be Specific about Your Instructions

But you also need to be specific about the information you give to your writers. As a rule of thumb, the more specific the instructions, the better the copy they’ll produce. So don’t be afraid to arrange a Skype call for any small detail or linking out to a competitor’s website. This can make a difference in making sure your writer is on the same page as you from the very beginning. You also need to be specific about your SEO requirements including the keywords you are targeting.

4. Beware of Freelancers & Content Services Charging Excessively Cheap Prices

On many of the freelance sites, it’s not uncommon to come across writers charging $2-3 for 500 words. For these people to make a decent wage, the amount of content they need to produce is huge. Inevitably, they compromise on quality. Remember that when it comes to content, you get what you pay for and generally, if you’re looking for well-written content, it can cost you anywhere between 2 cents per word and 7 cents per word, if not higher.

5. Ask about their revision policies

The next consideration: Revisions. If you’re working with a writer for the first time, you both need to be clear about the policy concerning revisions. You shouldn’t have to be afraid to ask for revisions so long as you are clear about what you want and you are reasonable about your demands. You obviously can’t tell the writer to throw in an extra 500 words for free.

6. Small edits are on you

At the same time, if you receive a piece of content that’s good pending a few minor edits such as formatting changes or a couple of typos, it’s much easier if you take care of these edits yourself instead of asking for a revision.

7. It’s okay to fire people but make sure your expectations are realistic

And finally, if your writer is doing you more harm than good or he/she is having a hard time understanding your instructions, stop working with them. Just remember though that unless you are paying the big bucks, a freelance writer is probably not an expert or thought leader in your industry. The content they create will not be exactly like something you would write about your own industry and/or business so you need to keep your expectations realistic.

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